How to Tuck Baggy Pants Into Boots

Boot season brings out the best in my style sensibility: cold-weather footwear has staying power that defies the temperatures, and because I’m often wrapped in outerwear, I showcase them as best I can. Knee-height boots have the upper hand this year and it seems everyone’s been tucking their pants directly into said boots.

The trouser-tuck is an advanced maneuver, however, lending itself to some controversy if done incorrectly. The 2019-2020 version includes loose trousers, so if the pants are too tight you miss the style completely; grab too-billowy slacks and you’re dangerously close to looking like a pirate. For a true lesson in tucking pants into boots, we turned to this season’s masters who’ve proven how versatile this trend can be.

The Best Red Lipsticks, According to 20 Rockettes

Asking a beauty professional—whether it’s a celebrity hairstylist, makeup artist, or Instagram influencer (hi, 2019)—for advice is always a safe bet. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find there are plenty of other women out there who are legitimate authorities in their own right. In our column Unlikely Experts, they give real reviews and recommendations. Whether it’s surfers on the best conditioners, bikers on the best cleansers, or ballerinas on the best foot creams, it’s fair to say these women know best.

Plenty of things come to mind when you think of New York City during the holidays: Christmas lights, packed department stores, and of course, the Radio City Rockettes. Every year the Rockettes team up to sing, dance, and kick line in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular—and each season, despite the altered hairstyles and new costumes, one detail of their look remains the same: their bright red lipstick.

The catch? Their makeup, including their red lip, needs to last through an entire performance, which includes eight costume changes and one sweaty Santa-inspired beard. Oh, and here’s another thing: Each Rockette is in charge of her own hair and makeup. The only rules they need to follow are wearing their uniform hairstyle, false eyelashes, and the very best red for their complexion.

So with plenty of trial and error, it’s no surprise that these women have landed on the best red lipsticks in the game. Which is why they’re sharing them, here. And just in case you’re so inclined to see these shades in action for yourself, they’ll be performing at Radio City Music Hall through January 5.

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How to Keep Flowers Alive

A wise woman named Snooki once exclaimed “vodka, straight up!” when asked how she keeps herself in shape. I’m paraphrasing—her actual words were “it sucks, but no Long Islands or margaritas when you drink. It has to be straight vodka.” Still, the idea that vodka might be a contributing factor in the art of thriving resonates both with me as a person who won’t turn down a martini and as someone who occasionally buys flowers and wants to keep them alive.

To preface: I’m not actually a plant or flower person. I do not know much about them, I don’t have patience for them, and I suffer from a mild case of trypophobia, so I’m particular about the composition of the horticulture that enters my home. But occasionally, I will impulse-buy an inexpensive bouquet of uniformly colored tulips, peonies (basic and proud), or branches with some colored bulbs to put on the table in my foyer, usually when I’m having people over. I don’t know if buying flowers at the deli or a fancy florist makes a difference in their life span or if I’m just bad at trimming, but whatever I picked up would die in a matter of days, sometimes as little as two.

Then, a few years ago, I heard someone at a party say she swears pouring vodka in with the water is the trick to keeping flowers alive. A low-stakes solution! I had to give it a go. Plus, on some level it made sense. If it was your one job to be on display at a party, wouldn’t you need a drink? Now, I trim the ends, pull off the leaves, and pop flowers in a vase of tap water with a splash of whatever vodka I have. I’ve had flowers thrive for as many as five or six days, so I swear it works.

‘Pegasus’ Pink Peony Bouquet

The Bouqs


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Until it didn’t a few weeks ago—I bought an $8 bouquet of lavender tulips from the display outside a local plant store and performed my usual ritual of boozing up the water before plunging them in the vase. A day later they were hunched over, resembling a sad cluster of green pipe-cleaners with crinkly petals all over the floor.

Did I go overboard with the vodka? Had I just gotten lucky all these years with fairly healthy greenery? Because I had some time on my hands (and was genuinely curious!), I called up Bill Miller, a professor of horticulture and the director of the Flower Bulb Research Program at Cornell University.

All the Ways Celebrities Celebrated the Holidays in 2019

Tuning in on social media to see how celebrities are spending their Christmas and Hanukkah should be a holiday tradition right up there with baking cookies and watching Hallmark movies. Like clockwork, everyone with a blue checkmark logs during the chilly winter days to to give their followers a look at the sometimes traditional, sometimes over-the-top, sometimes unexpected ways they get festive and ring in the season.

And the 2019 holiday season has not disappointed, with everyone from Jennifer Aniston to the queen of Christmas herself, Mariah Carey, keeping fans posted on their celebrations. As of Christmas Eve, we knew that Stormi Webster received a very luxurious playhouse from grandma Kris Jenner. We’d also looked on as P!nk lit her menorah and Adele posed with the Grinch at her Christmas party.

The best part of catching up on celebrities’ holidays? It’s all the festivity minus your own family’s drama. Take a look at all the ways these A-listers celebrated—and just imagine what they have in store for New Year’s Eve.

Jennifer Aniston

The Morning Show star gave her Instagram followers a sneak peek at her holiday party, with guests including Laura Dern and Rita Wilson. “Lotta love in that room ☺️ Happy Holidays!” she captioned her post.


Grinch? Check. Santa Claus? Check. Adele’s glimpse at her holiday party seemed to cover all the bases.

Kim Kardashian

The reality star shared that she’d been busy wrapping gifts—and that her sister, Kylie Jenner, had dropped off a batch of Christmas cookies shaped like Kim’s kids.

Skin Care for Sensitive Skin: Best Ingredients to Use and Avoid

How to use PHAs: Like classic AHAs, polyhydroxy acids can be swiped on in toner form or applied via a brightening treatment or mask.

What to try: This toner chemically exfoliates just like an extremely tingly AHA toner, but thanks to the PHA swap, it sweeps away dead cells with zero sensation. You’ll still see plenty of brightening and smoothing, though.

The Inky List Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) Gentle Exfoliating Toner

The Inky List Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) Gentle Exfoliating Toner


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Vitamin E

Why you should swap it out: The commonly used ingredient helps stop free radical oxidation and extend the shelf life of your product. But tocopherol (another name for the active) can also trigger contact dermatitis for a small percentage of people. Palm says this reaction will likely materialize as redness, rashes, irritation, itchiness, or a burning sensation.

What you should swap it with: Melatonin. The same stuff we rely on for sound sleep also acts as an indirect antioxidant in skin care. According to Palm, topically applied melatonin works by signaling enzymes that can trigger blocked or accelerated oxidation.

How to use melatonin: As you would with supplements, Palm suggests saving your topical melatonin for nighttime. “Especially when paired with a retinol alternative such as bakuchiol, melatonin enhances skin recovery, repair, and cell turnover,” she says.

What to try: This instant hit overnight mask, which sold out just 48 hours after launch, contains both bakuchiol and melatonin—plus hydrating squalane and soothing arnica.

Alpyn Beauty Calming Midnight Mask

Alpyn Beauty Calming Midnight Mask


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Why you should swap it out: There’s plenty of controversy surrounding the melanin blocker (it fades hyperpigmentation) due to animal testing that raises questions about possible carcinogenic links. While the FDA still considers hydroquinone safe, it can also cause irritation, redness, and dryness for some.

What you should swap it with: Tranexamic acid. “TA is a potent new agent for the treatment of melasma, but without the irritation or risk of hydroquinone,” says Howe. The scientific community still isn’t quite sure how TA minimizes dark spots, although Howe says it may work via “anti-palmin activity, which leads to decreased melanin synthesis.”

How to use tranexamic acid: Apply TA-infused serums and spot treatments morning or night.

What to try: This serum contains 3% TA and kojic acid to fade dark spots. “Kojic acid, a natural byproduct of fermented soy sauce and rice wine, blocks the formation of melanin production,” says Howe. For a more budget-friendly offering, we also like Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment, which contains 2% TA to even your skin tone.

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

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Rihanna Made an Undercover Visit to a Winter Market in London and No One Noticed

Earlier this year, global music and fashion phenomenon Rihanna revealed to T Magazine that she had quietly moved to London. She explained to the outlet that she frequently goes on walks around the city, but she tries to “keep it a little incognito.” And now, thanks to Instagram Stories, we have an idea of just how covert the siner can be when she wants to skirt by the London paparazzi.

The Daily Mail reports that earlier this week Rihanna paid a visit to “Winter Wonderland,” a seasonal market in London’s Hyde Park. The visit wasn’t noticed by market goers or members of Rihanna’s Navy at the time—the visit only came to light after Rihanna’s assistant, Tina Truong, posted about their trip on Instagram Stories.

In videos published by The Daily Mail and the Rihanna Twitter fan account @FentyStats, Truong follows Rihanna—who wears an oversized black coat with the hood pulled up—through a packed crowd at the Winter Wonderland. The singer also concealed her face with a black scarf so just her eyes were peaking out. Considering Rihanna loves nothing more than wearing enormous coats, the look is both a disguise and an on-brand fashion moment.

Rihanna’s undercover trip ultimately was just for a snack run. At one point in the videos, Truong loses track of Rihanna and finds her again at a hot dog stand. “Lmaooo found her y’all,” Truong wrote on the video. In it, Rihanna can be seen giggling and holding her hot dog out to Truong for a bite. Celebrities: They’ll risk it all for a holiday hot dog, just like us.

Hiding under coats and scarves isn’t the only thing keeping Rihanna from being spotted by fans these days—she’s simply been busy. Earlier this month, the singer took home her first British Fashion Award, the Urban Luxe award, for Fenty. And she’s also apparently holding on to a new album, which she’s cryptically referred to as R9. But on Instagram this week, Rihanna said she’s “refusing to release it.” We clearly need a Christmas miracle.

Taylor Swift Is the Artist of the Decade—Whether You Like It or Not

Her follow-up, 1989, was even more unprecedented. It was, in effect, a 100 percent, pure-pop album with virtually zero elements of the country twang that made her a star. The album after that, Reputation, ventured even further into electro-pop, with distorted vocals and grimy, club-ready beats. The fact that this was the same artist who delivered the bluegrass anthem “Mean” in 2010 is astounding.

Lover, Swift’s most recent, is an amalgamation of her discography. In many ways, it’s a return to form, with several stripped-down tunes and a few glossy pop gems mixed in. The record is further proof Swift is the decade’s biggest sonic shape-shifter—listening to her instincts, not the radio, and creating incredibly compelling pop music as a result.

Perhaps the only artist who rivals her on this metric is Rihanna, whose 2010s catalog defies genre, as well. But her songs, in my opinion, were often reactions to the top 40 landscape. When radio went dance-pop, so did she. When it pivoted to tropical house, she followed suit. Swift, however, almost made her music in a vacuum—that’s what I think, at least.

Dave Hogan/ABA/Getty Images

Taylor Swift Revealed the One “Lover” Lyric That Was Almost So Different

Two seconds into Taylor Swift‘s “Lover,” you can tell the dreamy ballad is destined to play at weddings for years to come. But the first lyric, “We could leave the Christmas lights up ’til January” confused some listeners since the song’s release. January starts just a few days after Christmas—so what’s romantic about Swift’s decoration schedule? Isn’t that the norm?

Well, Swift just said a change to “Lover”‘s lyrics is to blame for fans’ questions. For the New York Times series “Diary of a Song,” the singer joined Times music journalist Joe Coscarelli to explain how she brought “Lover” to life. In the interview, she explained that her Christmas lights weren’t supposed to stay lit only until January in the original lyrics.

Swift said the songwriting process for “Lover” involved meticulously reviewing her lyrics, making sure each one says exactly what she wants it to say. “Were there lines that changed in that process?” Coscarelli asked. “I had toyed with the idea of ‘We could leave the Christmas lights up ‘til April,’” Swift responded.

So why make the jump to January? Swift added she wanted “Lover” to be about quiet, normal moments that make a relationship special—so she changed the month to something simpler. “It’s not about that being a crazy thing,” Swift said. “It’s about how mundane it is. It’s about like ‘We could put a rug over there. We could do wallpaper or paint.’ When young adults go from living in their family to then combining their lives with someone else, that’s actually, like, the most profound thing.”

She added that the rest of “Lover” touches on similarly universal, simple moments and feelings. “I wanted the chorus to be these really simple, existential questions that we ask ourselves when we’re in love. ‘Can I go where you go’ is such a heavy thing to ask somebody. ‘Can we always be this close’ has so much fear in it,” Swift said.

Hear her describe the making of “Lover” in her own words below:

The 30-year-old also recently released “Christmas Tree Farm,” an upbeat ode to the farm where she grew up. Like “Lover,” Swift wrote “Christmas Tree Farm” in just 24 hours. She documented the process in a series of iPhone clips shared on her Instagram earlier this week. “24 hours and a lot of xmas spirit,” she captioned the video.

Swift told the New York Times she’d been waiting for a song like “Lover” to make its way into her repertoire. “I’d been thinking for years that, God, it’d be so great to have a song that people who are in love would want to dance to,” she said. “In my head, I had the last two people on a dance floor at 3 A.M., swaying.”

Her vision will probably come to life in a few months. Swift takes “Lover” on tour in 2020.

Queen Elizabeth May Have Made a Subtle Nod to *The Crown* in Her Annual Christmas Speech

Ever since The Crown premiered on Netflix in 2016, fans have wondered whether its subject, Queen Elizabeth, watches the drama—and what she thinks of it. Some reports have said that the Queen Mother approves of the series; while others have said she’s taken issue with the more fictionalized scenes. And now, new reports seem to suggest not only that the royal watches, but that she gave the hit show a subtle nod in this year’s annual Christmas speech.

On Tuesday (December 24), a photo from Queen Elizabeth’s annual Christmas Day broadcast shows the monarch seated a desk in front of a Christmas tree, surrounded by photographs of the royal family throughout the years. The Daily Mail spotted that among the desk decor was a picture of Queen Elizabeth’s handshake with the Apollo 11 crew—an event that was recreated on season 3 of The Crown.

Queen Elizabeth sits at her desk for her annual Christmas address.


During the seventh episode of season 3, Prince Philip watches the Apollo 11 team complete their mission and questions his own accomplishments as a result. The royal family also hosts an astronaut-themed birthday party for Prince Edward and Prince Andrew. Finally, the show depicts the famous meeting between Queen Elizabeth and the Apollo 11 team at Buckingham Palace, shown below.

Queen Elizabeth met the Apollo 11 astronauts in 1969.


Queen Elizabeth’s meeting with the Apollo 11 crew was dramatized on season 3 of ‘The Crown.’

Embedding a wink to that would be a savvy pop culture move from Queen Elizabeth, indicating yet again that she’s aware of the series. But it could also be a marker of the year: 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.

Netflix Easter eggs or not, the Queen’s Christmas broadcast will have other moments for royal onlookers to chew on. Excerpts from Queen Elizabeth’s speech published by CNN say that she will address the tumultuous year in politics head-on. “Small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding,” she said. “The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Released Their First Family Christmas Card—Starring Baby Archie

We interrupt your holiday plans to share that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s family Christmas card has finally arrived.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s latest Christmas memento was shared via Twitter on Monday afternoon by the royal charity Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle serve as the President and Vice President. On the digital card, the couple sits casually in front of a Christmas tree, while baby Archie crawls toward the camera. “Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year, from our family to yours!” it says in twinkling gold writing. Take a look:

This year’s card included a personal detail for Markle. Per People, the photo was taken by the 38-year-old’s close friend Janina Gavankar. The Morning Show actor has been friends with Markle since her Suits days and was among hundreds of guests who attended the royal wedding in May 2018.

Markle and Prince Harry reportedly went the digital route for the card for an important reason: A source told Harper’s Bazaar they wanted their greeting to be environmentally friendly. As royal fans know, Markle is a huge proponent of sustainable and eco-conscious fashion. The source also said their card was only sent to friends and family, as well as the patronages and charities they work with.

Monday’s digital greeting is the second Christmas card the couple have released together. Last year, the pair sent their holiday wishes with a never-before-seen photo from their May 2018 wedding. The stunning shot showed the pair watching fireworks at their reception.

When will we next catch a glimpse of the royal family’s Sussex branch? Not for a while. Royal officials revealed that the royal pair would be spending Christmas in Canada this year. The family’s staying there as part of a six week break from royal engagements.